Annual Review 18 - 19

Annual Review 18 - 19

More than ever, you make the difference

Nature now and for our future

Leanne Craze and Stuart Baird. Image: Annette Ruzicka

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Annual Review, which covers the work of our staff, volunteers and supporters throughout a challenging, busy and ultimately successful year for the Wilderness Society. We've made big strides across our major campaigns and have seen the continuing rise of our grassroots initiative, Movement For Life. Here, an introduction from Co-convenors Stuart Baird and Leanne Craze on behalf of the Board. And below, a word from CEO, Matt Brennan, on why the Wilderness Society's vital work is more important than ever.

Download a PDF copy of the print version of the Annual Review for financial year 2018-19, and a copy of the Financial Report for 2018-2019 here

This has been a year of contrasts for nature in Australia. We have seen a real shift in the national interest around protecting our environment. During the federal election, the Wilderness Society had volunteers and staff mobilised en masse to keep nature and the extinction crisis in the public conversation. Surveys during the period consistently showed that environmental concerns ranked in the top one or two for the electorate. 

We saw political parties of all persuasions being forced to acknowledge these concerns, with policy and media statements happening right into the last week before the election. This is a major shift from previous elections, where the environment is dealt with as an issue early in an election campaign before receiving little coverage. 

At the same time we accept that the election result has meant the opportunity to deliver structural change to protect the environment is likely to be more difficult. Even so, our strategic direction remains the same and we are convinced by the community support that we are on the right path. 

Over the election period our New Nature Laws campaign, which seeks to provide strong safeguards for wilderness and biodiversity, resulted in our biggest quarterly increase in grassroots Movement for Life volunteers. The issue clearly resonated with concerned and passionate community members, driving them to take action locally. 

Movement For Life volunteers campaign during the election. Image: Glenn Walker

Since then, environmental issues have continued to gather momentum through 2019 as more people see mounting evidence for the climate crisis and the continued destruction of our natural world. It is the ongoing support from our donors and volunteers that will continue to mobilise the community to save and restore our unique wild spaces. 

On a personal note, we would like to acknowledge that Lyndon Schneiders is stepping down from his role as both National Campaigns Director and joint CEO. After decades of campaign leadership at the Wilderness Society, we will miss the depth and breadth of Lyndon's expertise, strategic analysis and negotiation skills. We thank him for developing both the strategic framework and our phenomenal team of campaigners and organisers. They will continue to deliver real and lasting protection for Australia’s unique habitats and the species they harbour well into the future. We thank Lyndon for his hard work and expect he will continue his passion for campaigning to protect nature.

Across the organisation we have worked hard this year to balance the financial requirements of delivering significant campaigns with maintaining a sustainable budget outlook for the future. Our sincere thanks to all our staff who worked through this process and continue to deliver outstanding results. We’d also like to thank our fellow Board members and leadership team for their sage counsel this year, and our fellow state convenors for journeying with us and continuing the good fight at the local level. 

And we extend a special thank you to our donors, who continue to support our vital work taking place all over the country: we’re protecting koala habitat and fighting land clearing in Queensland, keeping Santos’s gas wells out of the Pilliga in New South Wales, ending the senseless logging of old-growth forests in Victoria, and supporting the EPA’s calls for emissions cuts in Western Australia. And we’re keeping our wilderness wild by opposing developments in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and ensuring the Great Australian Bight isn’t blighted with oil rigs.  

In a time where the scope of the environmental challenges can be overwhelming, we have the people and strategies in place to continue to deliver real protections for the places, species and habitats that we all love. Together with our supporters, we will continue to hold governments and industry to account – to protect the wild places that sustain us all.

Leanne Craze - Co-convenor

Stuart Baird - Co-convenor 

A message from the Wilderness Society's CEO, Matt Brennan 

Image: Annette Ruzicka

Together for nature

The challenges we all face can seem daunting but, as shown by our rich history, we know that if we persevere we can protect nature in this country for generations to come. Indeed, in early November, the government in Victoria announced an end to native forest logging in the state, with 90,000 hectares protected immediately!  

These types of achievements result from us working together and staying focussed, combining the talents of our staff and volunteers with the passion and dedication of our supporters and members. 

Together we can build a shared vision for what real environmental change will look like; a vision to inspire all Australians, because it’s never been more important for us to stay focussed on supporting the life that supports us.

Matt Brennan - CEO

Movement For Life continues to go from strength to strength

Image: Matt Tomkins

National Community Organising Manager Damian Ogden takes us through the successes of the past year and exciting developments on the horizon for our grassroots organising program. Plus, volunteer Charlotte Mayeux on how Movement For Life has enabled her to channel her passion for nature.